Nikki Brammeier finished fifteen seconds short of the win in the Namur World Cup on Sunday to take second place. The result of the British champion added to a good day for the Brits, with compatriot Evie Richards (Trek) winning the women’s race and fellow Brit Thomas Pidcock crossing the line first in the U23 category.
"I can't be disappointed," Brammeier said. "I'm actually super happy for Evie. It just shows that the sport is growing so much. I just love the fact that she's on the podium today, standing on the top position."
Both Boels-Dolmans riders had a good start. Brammeier and Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus arrived at the top of the first ascent side by side, in third and fourth position. Eva Lechner (Clifbar) and Katie Keough (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) led the way from the start line, but by the time Lechner crossed the finish line for the first time after the opening section, she had managed a seven-second lead. Brammeier, in the meantime, had caught Keough and was on her way to the leader in the race.
Lechner and Brammeier led the race at the start of the second of four laps, with Katie Compton (Trek) on their heels. She joined the two riders not much later. As the three riders attacked each other, a fourth rider joined the front. It was 20-year-old Richards, the 2016 U23 world champion.
Gaps started to appear between the leading quartet, with the young Brit taking the lead. She had a ten-second advantage on Brammeier as she was given the bell for the final lap. Richards was never out of sight for Brammeier, who in turn remained in sight of Compton and Lechner.
Richards retained her lead until the finish line and crossed it fifteen seconds ahead of Brammeier, who got to join her compatriot on the podium in second place. Lechner completed the podium in third. Just over two minutes behind the winner, Majerus crossed the finish line in fourteenth position.
“I loved every second of today’s race,” Brammeier said. “I’m proud of the Brits coming through this sport. I rode for Sharon Laws today, my friend who died of cancer yesterday. I really had her in my thoughts this weekend. And both days I gave everything I could."
"I'm happy with second," Brammeier concluded. "It was super good for the sport. I know everybody back home watches these races. Me, Evie and Helen Wyman and all the British girls that are coming through; be careful Belgium, we are coming!"
The World Cup continues on Boxing Day in Heusden-Zolder.